Christ Episcopal Church in Ponte Vedra Beach, in the northeast part of our county is a long way from the country roads of Flagler Estates, way out in the southwestern corner. Yet, one recent Saturday found a parish priest, Father Luke Jernigan and 10 of his parishioners at the end of a dusty unpaved road, amid saw dust and bug spray, building the second of three ramps the church has either financially sponsored or constructed. This month, they will add another two ramps to that list, donating funding for both and manpower for one.
The calls come in almost daily. “My roof is leaking,” the caller will say. “Can you help?” is the usually the next sentence. And in most cases, sadly the answer is no.
Leaking roofs are notorious for being a gateway repair. When inspectors examine roofs, one hole will lead to another, one loose shingle to another and in some cases, damage has already been done to the inside of the house as well.
St. Johns Housing Partnership (SJHP) weatherized Bella Vista Apartments in Bunnell, Florida, through the Weatherization Assistance Program, reducing the energy burden of tenants who live at or below poverty level, and winning high praise from the residents and the owner. The insulation did not meet current Florida building code and many of the water heaters, while functional were inefficient, covered with rust and the tanks contained large amounts of debris.
The SJHP accomplished the amazing feat of weatherizing almost 1,211 multi-family units in 34 communities within 16 counties(in a one year time span); successfully meeting federal expenditure requirements as part of Florida’s weatherization program, with state weatherization agencies, coordinating $176 million in stimulus funds weatherizing 26,000 homes.
A percentage of people on the First Coast are stuck in their homes. They physically cannot leave. All they need are wheelchair ramps at their homes. But they cannot physically build them and they don’t have the money to build them.
One group which is coming to the rescue needs help themselves. That group is called the Ex-Factor.
Don’t lose hope. That’s the message of the St. Johns Housing Partnership.
One of the main services of the Housing Partnership is providing community members with free access to programs that may help them save their homes from foreclosure.
Cassy Barbour, program director, said the Housing Partnership has seen the effects of the increase in foreclosures. She’s seeing about 50 new cases a month and is working on about 200 cases.